English Department Guidelines for Independent Study (IS) and Independent Research (IR)
- To undertake an IS (English 298) or IR (English 398), students must be a junior or senior and have completed at least 7 courses in the major or have completed, as a non-major, 7 courses in CIS. In general, an IS is undertaken as introductory study in a subject not otherwise offered as a department course; an IR is meant to build on prior relevant course experience.
- An IS cannot count toward one of the three required courses at Level II, nor can it count as one of the required pre-1800 or post-1800 offerings; An IR cannot count for one of a student's two Level III requirements.
- The proposal should present a project that is not covered by an existing course at St. Olaf; the project should not be one-on-one coaching to replace participation in an advanced workshop or seminar.
- A student requesting an IS or IR must develop a list of proposed meeting times, readings, and written assignments, and submit these materials to a prospective supervising faculty member. IS and IR courses are expected to meet an average of one hour per week (or its equivalent in interim or summer session). The amount of reading in IS and IR should be comparable to that of a regularly offered course at the appropriate level. Students in IS and IR courses are expected to produce approximately twenty pages of written work, with IR courses including a research component. (Students often use the IR option to work toward the completion of a departmental distinction project.)
- The decision to direct an IS or IR rests with the specific faculty member and the department.
- If the student obtains a faculty supervisor, the student must submit to the English department faculty (via our AAA, Cleo Granneman, and the department chair) a detailed plan that would include the reading list, writing assignments, schedule of meetings, and rationale for why this IS or IR should be approved, along with the faculty supervisor's signature. This detailed plan must be approved by the department in advance of registration; approval will take up to seven days.
- Please bring the completed application for: Independent Study/Independent Research form that can be obtained at the Registrar's office.